Paul, Author at Why so Japan

Japanese Manhole covers T-shirts from 47Regions

Japanese Manhole covers T-shirts from 47Regions

Japan is a place of so many different and wonderful things to do and see. A lot of times when we are planning our trips to Japan we decide not always to have our whole day packed out. We love to just wander around the streets, to take in the atmosphere and to find new and exciting things that are not always obvious until you are told about it. We love to collect things while in Japan. During our latest trip we handmade our own blank paper book and took it out and about with us to collect stamps from different places. You can find them at a lot of train stations and even the temples would have a place where you can get the stamp for that area. At the temple you could also get your book personally signed with a meaningful text. Collecting is a lot of fun.

Kickstarter Project

When I heard about manhole covers I first thought that there just normally boring brown covered slabs of iron, but after reading up about the Kickstarter project, being run by two of the founders of47Regions Steven and Kevin, the covers are so much more than just covers. They’re mini masterpieces of art that can be found all over Japan and collecting them has become very popular, with blogs dedicated to them, collectors card and even bus tours. Each manhole cover will tell you something about the area. It can be of landmarks, traditions, nature – anything that is special for that specific area.

With Steven and Kevin’s love for Japan and having there own company, they decide to print up six manhole cover prints designs to shirts and cards. Because the duo wanted to make sure the prints would be of the highest and best quality, they decided to screen print them themselves from their newly started company 47Regions. You might think it can’t be that hard to print t-shirts but as you see in the photos, lots of trials have gone into it, to find the best and most perfect way to hand print them for this project, which gives a very personal side to this project I think.

If all goes well with the project and it takes off, there will be even more manhole covers from some of the other 47 prefectures to choose from in the future one day soon.

There are still a few days left of this Kickstarter project, so head on over there via this link:

or check out 47Regions across the web on the links down below:


Ok, now I’m off to start looking up which covers we are going to try and find next time we are in Japan.

Posted on by Paul in Fashion, Other, Reviews, Shopping, Visiting 2 Comments

JAPAN – Where tradition meets the future

whysojapan Where tradition meets the future tourism

Japan National Tourism Organization

JNTO in Europe has just started it’s largest ever promotional campaign for inbound tourism from Europe, as a part of the visit Japan project. The tourism organization based in London has launched a site showcasing what Japan has to offer in “tradition and “innovation”.  The JNTO will be promoting Japan in 15 different European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and more via several media platforms. The campaign showcases Japan through the eyes of Europeans with an interactive site, with it’s main feature being a video that was made by filmmaker Vincent Urban from Germany. Vincent Urban has also made the video “In Japan 2015”, which to date has been viewed on Vincent’s Vimeo channel over 2.2 million times. Check our previous post on his video and other great filmed in Japan by clicking here:

Where tradition meets the future

The film was shot in 45 different locations in Tokyo, Kyoto, Kumano and Ise – from the modern to the traditional and beyond. The video takes you on a whirlwind journey through the modern sites of arcade centres, Tokyo Skytree and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, to the beautiful picturesque scenes of the the Great Buddha of Nara and the unbelievable Sagano Bamboo Forest Road in Kyoto, just to name a few. After watching the interactive video on the site you can click back to all the different parts of the video and read more information about the certain location in the film. I found this to be a great feature, because I’ve now been able to discover more parts of Japan that I want to visit.

whysojapan Where tradition meets the future tourism

The second section to the site is an interview part with people from Europe have been asked questions about Japan and their experiences. The site is available in five different European languages (English, German, French, Italian and Spanish).

whysojapan Where tradition meets the future tourism

I found the whole site to be beautiful. A great read, I loved the interactive video, and even the background music that is played while on the site is lovely. I think that this will be just the start as we look forward to the 2020 Olympics, where Japan is going become more and more in demand.

Visit the site here:






Posted on by Paul in Media, Visiting Leave a comment

Vending machines in Japan

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

Vending machines

Japan has the most amount of vending machines per person in the world. Because of the population of people and there is a very limited, space vending machines are very popular things in Japan. A lot of people on foot and bike use them. Since there is very little crime in Japan it is not that often you will find a vending machine vandalized leaving it out of order, which makes them a great way of selling things to people that are on the move.

You find vending machines everywhere in Tokyo. It seems every small side street, car park and train station will have at least one. Normally it will be a row of them, selling different sorts of drinks.

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

The most common vending machine we have come across while out in Tokyo was the drink ones where you normally find fizzy drinks, like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. You will also find a lot of machines that just sell energy drinks too, and then you have the machines that sell warm drinks. Sometimes there will be a machine for each sort of product and in some of them you can find all of the above products in the same machine. The cold drinks are normally marked with a blue colour around the selection button, and the hot drinks would have a red colour around them. Depending on what time of the year is it, the hot drinks might be available more or less.

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

You can also find vending machines that sell hot food, like burger and fries and other fast food styl . Even though I looked for the machines I haven’t been able to find one in Tokyo as of yet. Other machines sell hot pasta noodles, which I’ve seen at a hotel we stayed in. A perfect late snack. And then, of course, there are machines that sell different candies.

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

Other machines that are a bit different can be ones that sell bananas, books and umbrellas, which all can come in handy of course. Machines that sell alcohol have a smart card reader on them that you have to swipe a card to prove your age.

A lot of smaller restaurants use vending machines to sell their food. Normally the machine will just be outside the entrance of the restaurant. On the machine you will find pictures of the different dishes available to buy. You put your money in, choose the dish you want, and then it prints out a ticket that you take in to the restaurant and hand over to the staff to get your food.

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan whysojapan_vending_machines_tokyo_japan_06 whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

You can also use your Suica transport prepaid card to buy stuff. The machines will detect the amount due from your card for you, which comes in handy if you don’t have any other money on you at the time.

Some vending machines even have cameras in them that try to detect what sort of mood you are in and decide what sort of drink would suit that mood.

Do you have any experiences with vending machines in Japan?

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan




Posted on by Paul in Food & snacks 1 Comment

Videos filmed in Japan

why so japan tokyo japan travel blog video Videos filmed in Japan

Videos filmed in Japan

Once in a while we stumble upon videos filmed in Japan that really connect us back to Japan. It’s that feeling the videos give that sort of sums up how you have seen Japan and how it makes you feel – from the ultra modren sights of Tokyo with everyone and everything working and moving at a high pace of life – to the more traditional and not in rush way of living. Even though both the videos are filmed in a modern style I still think they capture Japan in the ways that we have seen it while traveling around. Of couse, every one has a different take on Japan.

Japan 2015

Filmed by: Vincent Urban, Alex Schiller and Alex Tank. A collection of moments and memories of a 3-week railway journey through Japan. What we love about this video is that you get to see so many different things from Japan in just one video. Check out Vincent’s Vimeo page for more of his work:


Hello Tokyo

Filmed by: Christoph Gelep. A collection of time lapses shot around Tokyo, this was Christoph’s first time in Tokyo and the videos are shot over 5 days. This is another great video and we just love how he managed to capture the busy life of Tokyo on video. Check out Christoph’s Vimeo page for more of his work:



why so japan tokyo japan travel vlog video Videos filmed in Japan

These were just two videos that we came across that really made us think of why we love Japan and why we must visit Japan as often as we can. Through these videos we can relive stuff we love and find new things to see and do. When you think you have seen all Japan has to offer you find the next new amazing place or thing just around the corner.


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Music Video Filmed In Japan #11: Will.I.Am

will.I.Am – #thatPower

#thatPower is a single from Will.I.Am’s 3rd album #willpower which was released in April 2013. The song was written by Will.I.Am, DJ Ammo (who has worked on other tracks with Will.I.Am and Black Eyed Peas, a group Will.I.A. is a member of) and Justin Bieber. The track features Justin Bieber who sings. The track was first released on YouTube the 15th of March 2013 with the iTunes release a couple of days later on the 18th of March. It had it’s first radio play in the UK on Capital FM the 15th of March. The track made it quite high up in both the UK week chart and the US Billborad, with UK ending up at 2 and the US at 17th place. The music video to #thatPower was first released on the 19th April 2013.

The Music Video

The music video to #thatPower was filmed in Japan. It features Will.I.Am and a hologram of Justin Bieber dancing in different locations across Tokyo. The locations being more of an architectural standing. Some locations I did recognize and some I had no idea about. The video features the well known dance/music group World Order, which if you haven’t yet seen I suggest you check out one of their videos on YouTube. Some of the places that can be seen in #thatPower are Tokyu Plaza Omotesando, which is kind of a shopping centre that has a futuristic entrance with mirrors pointing everywhere, which gives you the effect of a kaleidoscope effect when going in. The shopping centre has a great rooftop café, which gives your nice sights over the city and it’s a really nice place to sit down for a while and relax. Another well known location in the video is the Eye of Shinjuku, a big art installation in the west exit of JR Shinjuku station. The Eye of Shinjuku has been there since 1969 and can be seen in the Beastie Boys – Intergalactic music video from 1989. Other places that can been seen in the video are the Tokyo Big Sight, a large convention centre in Tokyo and the Florian Claar’s “Fragment No.5″ which I had never seen before. It can found in Tokyo Midtown. There are a lot of very modern design buildings as backdrops in the video, which does not surprise me, really. Will.I.Am is a very creative person with an eye for something different and the locations that are featured in #thatPower are of the more modern architecture to what you might be used too seeing.

Official site



Posted on by Paul in Media, Music Leave a comment
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